So very many of us spend our days cooped up inside. When we get home we want to feel the sun shine on our bodies, eat dinner al fresco, relax by a fire with the breeze blowing, or simply watch TV on our covered porch. Our homes are our refuge from the world, and when the weather’s good, we like to relax outside. Indoor-Outdoor flow is how your home’s interior extends to and blends with your exterior. It is a big trend, and builders are finally giving the outdoor area of a home more thought than just the obligatory small deck or concrete patio, suitable only for a grill and a small dining table. The fact is, nothing compares to being able to extend the pleasure and comfort of your indoor spaces into your yard. Many people believe this is a daunting task and of course it must cost lots of money. Not necessarily so.
First things first!
You need an outdoor living area, and to decide how it will be used (dining, sitting around a fire, playing games, watching tv, etc). Most homes have some sort of patio or deck, but if not and the budget doesn’t allow for one, you can designate an area of your yard as your outdoor living area and visually set that apart through plantings and décor, or using gravel as a base instead of turf. If your existing space is not adequate, you may want to consider expanding, replacing, or creating an additional space, depending on your budget and needs. There are plenty of options out there for every budget.
Think about the interior of your home. You know what you like in there, so bring it out here! If your interior features lots of red, make sure you have some red outside too! Choose materials and colors that would coordinate with your interior and not look out of place in your décor. This helps tie everything together and makes it seem like a home, not random displays in a home furnishings store. The rules for decorating outdoors are similar to those for your interior, just remember to choose materials that are suited to being outdoors, such as indoor-outdoor fabric.
Nobody wants to be uncomfortable and you won’t spend time outside if you are not content there. The point of an outdoor living area is that you want live and hang out there. It’s very simple. So think about what you have indoors that makes you comfortable, and find the outdoor version of those items. Lights, tables, cushions, fire, tv, music, etc.
If you can’t cook or eat outside comfortably, you’re not going to spend much time out there. That’s how we are. We gather to eat together. It’s bonding. Make sure you have a place to cook and a place to eat and drink. You can have a simple grill and table and chairs, or you can have a complete outdoor kitchen with fridge, oven, sink, cabinets, microwave, bar, etc. The options are amazing!
Part of the atmosphere of your outdoor area is the view. Take good care of your lawn and your plantings. Make sure you don’t have junk laying around outside. Tidy up, just like you would inside. Replenish the mulch. Plant some attractive shrubs and flowers—give yourself something beautiful to look at!
Hopefully you have great neighbors. But that doesn’t mean you want them able to see your every move, or that you want to know what they’re having for dinner tonight. Capture the sense of privacy you get when indoors by developing a natural and beautiful privacy fence with screens of trees and shrubs, or with a pergola or freestanding walls, low sitting walls, lattice or privacy fences.
I can’t see anything!
No matter how comfortable and attractive your space is, no one will use it at night if it’s too dark. Lighting is just as important outdoors as it is indoors—for safety and for comfort. Bistro lights strung above create an instant party atmosphere. Pathlights allow you and your guests to walk around safely. The technique of “moonlighting” casts a warm soft glow and creates an ambiance just like that of the full moon’s light. And of course, candles (both real and battery operated) always provide that warm glow we all love so much.
Hot and Cold!
We love the sun, but we need a way to get out of it when it’s too hot. At its simplest, you can provide shade with an umbrella over your table. A covered porch (adding ceiling fans offers nice cooling breeze) allows you to escape the sun’s heat or to be outdoors even when it’s raining. A pergola offers shade while serving as a visual architectural anchor. Add to its beauty and functionality by training vines to grow on it for even more shade, and adding lights as well. But what if it’s a little chilly out there? Provide blankets for snuggling, and fire for warmth. People love to gather around a fire. Marshmallows!! S’mores!! Fire features (fire pits, fire bowls, fireplaces, fire tables) can burn either wood or gas. Patio heaters can also be utilized to warm up a space and extend the usefulness of your outdoor living area into the winter months.
What’s the takeaway here? Don’t neglect the outside. It is livable space that adds so much to our lives! And it is easy to blend the indoor with the outdoor by simply adding a few thoughtful touches. Creating a good flow from inside to outside will entice people to go outside, gather together and enjoy themselves. Create an outdoor living area that will make you want to spend time there.
Located in Summerfield, NC Southern Exposure Landscape Management specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of residential and commercial projects throughout the Greensboro Triad Area (High Point, Jamestown, Burlington, Reidsville, Oak Ridge, Brown Summit, Summerfield). We are the premier Greensboro mulch installer. With over 20 years in business, Southern Exposure has the experience and knowledge to create beautiful garden features and flower beds in the landscape. Southern Exposure is the leading landscape management firm in Greensboro, NC. With attention to detail and a solid knowledge of design, Southern Lights, (a division of Southern Exposure) has installed hundreds of outdoor landscape lighting systems and carries more certifications than anyone in the state in the state of NC and beyond. See why our clients choose us. Contact us today by web (online form) or phone (336.451.4969)